A Very Fuzzy Birthday; Eleven Weeks In

Every single time I water my outdoor garden containers, an incredible storm rolls in, complete with hours of pouring rain. It feels symbolic, but I can’t quite make the leap.

It has been a dreadful week for news, which I am not going to go into. The bright spot is that Covid cases are on the decline in Alberta, and that last week’s recoveries outweighed the new cases. We are still in Stage One of reopening, and for the Boyhouse, this means that we have been slowly getting back into the world with medical appointments. The guys all have eye appointments next week, and I had my annual physical last week; that was pretty exciting, to have a reason to put on a real bra instead of a yoga tank. Next up: blood work and a mammogram! I haven’t scheduled them yet because the idea of Doing Things is still pretty exhausting. Although, never have I ever gone for my physical and immediately just walked into the room, with no waiting, as happened last week. I should probably get all these things done while it’s still quiet. I’d like to get my dental appointments in too, but that seems like a bridge too far right now.

When you were a kid, how often did you go out for dinner? In terms of sit-down restaurants, for me, it was almost never. Occasionally we would get Dairy Queen dinners, maybe once or twice a month, but as for an actual restaurant, it might have been annually or semi-annually. I wonder if we are going to see a step change in consumption patterns; I wonder if restaurants are going to become the special treats they were for me, back in the Eighties. I wonder if shopping is going to change and we are going to buy new things for Christmas and birthdays only, and maybe Back to School, GOD HELP ME THERE HAS TO BE A BACK TO SCHOOL AT SOME POINT.

I wonder about travel, and how that will change, and what will be the impact on countries for which the travel industry has done more for their economies than any other industry combined. I wonder what will happen for my kids when they are old enough to fly the nest and get jobs; will they have careers, where will they go and what will they do.

Well. None of us know what the future will bring, and in the meantime, we celebrated a very fuzzy birthday this weekend. Barkley, a.k.a. Bokey, Bokey Boy, Boke Boke, Bokeroo, Barks, the Barkster, Barkles, Puppy, Puppy Pup, Mr. Fuzzy, Fuzzy Fuzz, Silly Billy, turned twelve. There is something very heart-wrenching about having a dog turn twelve; it’s a reminder that you don’t have much time left and every day is a gift. Hopefully we have lots of time left, and in the meantime, he enjoyed lots of treats, the slowest walk ever where we patiently allowed him to sniff Every Single Spot Another Dog Has Ever Peed On Ever, and a ton of attention which he didn’t understand but I’m sure he liked.

Pandemic Reading

My dear friend Taryn (HI TARYN) lent me this book MONTHS ago; I set it on my shelf and – shamefully – forgot about it. What a pleasure this was to read; it is one of the best books I have read ever. Linked short stories – my favourite – about a girl of Jamaican descent growing up in Toronto, with underlying themes about belonging, community, and mother-daughter relationships. It is so rich and wonderfully written; I can’t stop thinking about it. You could probably write an entire dissertation on every character in this book.

This was one of my favourite books growing up and I can really see why. It is the ultimate “Bloom Where You’re Planted” book; the underlying theme is that no matter your circumstances, you can be a princess. A princess is what you are inside, in the best way possible. In this case, being a princess means treating others with respect, politeness, kindness, and generosity, regardless of how they treat you. Sara is a very wealthy young girl who has been sent to boarding school, while her father goes back to his work as a colonel in India. He loses his fortune and dies – of jungle fever – and the mistress of the boarding school takes that opportunity to make Sara into a slave who lives in the attic of the school. Eventually, through serendipitous twists and turns, all turns out well. It is a children’s book after all, albeit one that deals with child malnutrition and exposure, and physical abuse. As any book written in the Victorian age, it is a product of its time, so in the background there are many ugly things like colonialism and a crushing class system; it shows the terrible way impoverished children – particularly orphans – were treated by society.

I have a theory that Burnett readers either love A Little Princess or they love The Secret Garden, but they can’t love both. It’s very true for me, I have tried many times to read The Secret Garden but I’ve never made it past the first chapter.

More Alice Munro! Love her.

Yummy Things

Because it was Barkley’s birthday, I baked these “pupcakes” (thanks Lyn for the name suggestion! HI LYN) for the humans in the family. While looking for these dog face sprinkles at Superstore, I noticed that cake mixes are the new thing to be gone off the shelves. The baking aisle has tons of flour, and even some yeast, but the shelves holding cake mixes were completely empty. Has everyone given up on bread baking and moved on to cake making? I fully support your baking journeys.

We are trying to support as many Canadian wineries as possible; my husband’s lifelong friend – and, in fact, the friendship goes back generations as their grandfathers and fathers were both grape growers and lifelong friends – is a winemaker at Vineland Estates, which makes the BEST Cab Franc you have ever had. Seriously, it is the best. It’s tricky to get wines through the provinces, but there are (legal) ways to do this, and, long story short, I now have three cases in my basement. Or, as our winemaker friend says, 36 days worth.

Supporting Canadian wineries! It’s a hard job but someone has to do it, so I shall take it on myself.

Pandemic Fitness

The May walk/ run challenge is now over, and I clocked 257.6 kilometres for the month – mostly walking, but lots of running too. I’m very happy with that.

Other things to be happy about: today I went to Costco and hardly had to wait five minutes to get in the store, they are handing out masks to unmasked people at the door, and I saw a woman wearing a mask adorned with sequins. Sequins! It was very Pandemic at the Disco, and I like it. Hope you are all having a good week, stay safe, stay healthy. xo



  2. I read both and liked both, but it was The Secret Garden I read over and over as kid. North did not care for it much when I read it to them and I realized they are much more of a Little Princess person and we should have started there, but by that time they would have nothing to do with FHB books. Also, I’d completely forgotten she also wrote Little Lord Fauntleroy. I read that, too, but just once.

  3. Those pupcakes are too cute. Happy bday Barkley, what a sweet face! I am buying lots of boxes of brownie mixes and the kids will make a box about once a week. Otherwise I am still baking cookies or blueberry or pumpkin bread about once a week.

    Growing up we rarely went out to dinner too. Our grandparents met us half way at a McDonalds when we got our report cards and treated us to burgers which was always fun. I loved road trips – stopping to eat at Big Boy’s. Flying on an airplane – also rare. My kids are not accustomed to dinners out at restaurants very often. Flying though is more common. You raise a good point about whether or not some things will start to be regarded as a treat.

    I did not read those books growing up. No idea why. My mom was a teacher, too. I read ‘The Secret Garden’ to Curly a few years ago and I did not really care for it.

    The kids are starting to get out and see their friends and a few have resumed summer jobs. I have a little guy who will start getting dropped off here next week. Back to a schedule.

    Your willingness to keep do your part to support wineries made me laugh. Way to take one for the team!

  4. Dinner out was a supreme rarity when I was growing up. I’d say… once or twice a year. ALTHOUGH we did usually have a weeklong vacation in winter and one in summer, and we’d eat at restaurants during those weeks. It was always SUCH a treat.

    Love the cupcakes – they are adorable! I have not really ventured into cake baking, but my daughter’s birthday is coming up later this month so I will bake something for that.

  5. We didn’t have too many meals out when I was a kid; always a treat though.

    One of our big trips that cancelled for April is now set for August; praying things are different by then. Not sure what travel really will look like in the future though, but I know I do miss it.

    Happy birthday Mr Fuzzy Fuzz; what a cutie pie.
    LOVE the cupcakes and of course, I’m on board with supporing wineries.

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